Three counties going back to Phase 2 but Chelan and Douglas not among them


Pierce, Whitman and Cowlitz counties will go back to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, the state announced Monday.

Chelan and Douglas counties both narrowly avoided being included for Phase 2 in the Healthy Washington report, which measures recent Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations from the virus.

Being lowered from the current Phase 3 imposes more restrictions on businesses and gatherings. The state will reassess counties every two weeks.

The next evaluation will be May 3.

The state Department of Health is measuring counties individually, with different criteria for large and small counties.

Large counties, including Chelan, must have had no more than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks or no more than 5 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents over the past seven days.

Chelan County just edged below the needed figure for new cases at 199.6 per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days. For hospitalizations, the county is listed at 6.3 per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, above the required mark.

Originally, a county had to meet both metrics but last Friday Inslee changed it to meeting one of the metrics to stay at Phase 3.

Douglas County, considered a small county, had to have 100 or fewer new cases over the past 14 days. The state’s report said Douglas County had 115 new cases.

Small counties had to have three or fewer hospitalizations over the past seven days and the state listed Douglas as having one.

Grant County, a large county, met both criteria for staying in Phase 3. Okanogan County, a small county also met both.